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Panda pioneers teach babies how to survive in the wild


China has a dream that the giant pandas it breeds in captivity will one day frolic in the mountains with their wild cousins. This is the next challenge for the scientists who manage the country's biggest reserve for captive pandas. They have mastered the art of breeding the world's iconic and endangered animal; now it is time to send some of their babies out into the real world.

The centre's first experiment ended in tragedy, since the five-year-old panda that was released knew to survive on it's own, but couldn't protect itself from the other wild pandas and thus fallen to his death from a tree,after being pursued by wild pandas angered at an intruder in their territory.

Now two males and two females have been selected as the second attempt. Scientists running the program hope that wild pandas will be less likely to attack a female who strays into their territory. Everyone wishes the experiment has a happy end this time.

With only 1.590 pandas in the wild,it is crucial to improve their gene diversity to raise the animal's chances to avoid extinction.Reintroducing pandas pandas bred in China's reserves is one way to do that,and there are many candidates to choose from. The success of China's two main reserves in breeding, principally through artificial insemination, has resulted in a panda baby boom. The director of the reserve argues that the captive population has almost reached a level of sustainability to ensure that the panda can survive for another hundred years.

All this is a really good effort much appriciated by every person who loves animals and wants them to be saved from extinction. But doing all this is not enough. Pandas are only the example of so many species we let unprotected to reach the point of extinction until we realised we have to save them. Why should we always reach that point instead of thinking in advance which human activities cause a direct harm to the environment and it's wildlife and stop doing them?

Image credit: Philou.cn. Image licensed under a

Creative-Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.

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